In this thread I will be archiving a series of three threads from our old site at tmswiki.wetpaint.com. I think that they are special because they show the healing process, from start to finish, of a forum member named brianleejackson. Every recovery is different and there is great deal of practical healing wisdom to be found in truly understanding someone's story and the advice they received. These three threads are featured in Day 2 of our Structured Educational Program. Here is how the threads are introduced in the program: Success Story: Reading success stories can help you feel like you are no longer alone. The story of today is from wiki member brianleejackson, who battled with wrist pain that was so severe he had to quit his job. You can read his account by clicking on this link. Brian also posted about his struggle with chronic pain on the former Wiki forum, where he received feedback and support. The first thread is called Please read my struggle and comment. After Brian recovered and went back work he started another thread describing it called Back at work-Making good progress. Finally, a year later he posted a follow up entitled Update - 12 months since learning about TMS. Some members were having difficulty reading the threads on mobile devices, so I'm archiving them here. Bringing them to our current site will also hopefully stimulate further discussions and questions, so feel free to sign up and comment below. The thread below starts on March 2, 2010. The following summary, taken from Brian's blog, tells his story leading up to his first post on our forum: It all began in June 2009. One night I noticed a small twinge of pain in my wrist. At first I didn’t think about it much and thought it was because I was on the computer all the time and maybe my wrist was sore. Well… things kept going downhill from there. The pain kept increasing day by day and after about 2 weeks or so I started taking massive amounts of ibuprofen to try and mask the pain while I continued to work. Little did I know at this time how bad the pain was going to become. In July 2009 I walked into a general urgent care facility and they gave a diagnosis of possible carpal tunnel and sent me home with a wrist brace. I wore the wrist brace 24/7 for 7 days as they told me to. At the end of the 7 days my wrist felt even worse. I returned to the urgent care facility and they referred me over to a Orthopedic doctor. The Orthopedic doctor said that I needed physical therapy. So I then began a vigorous strengthening program for the next month. That month came and go and I was still in a lot of pain. I returned to the Orthopedic doctor and he ordered a nerve conduction test. The results were negative. I was in so much pain that when the doctor recommended surgery anyways because it might relieve some pressure on the median nerve, I agreed, and had the endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery. After another month of letting my hand heal from the surgery I noticed the same pain coming back. I was getting very discouraged at this point and was worrying about it almost 24/7. At this point I was spending probably a good 2 hours every night looking online for cures. I purchased 2 different ergonomic mice, but they didn’t help. I purchased therapy gloves, special pillows, different computer chairs, rearranged my computer workstation, started drinking only water, and many more things trying to help ease my pain. I started seeing a chiropractor, he said my condition and pain was all due to bad posture and upper back. So for the next two months I saw him 3 days a week. But there was no progress on my pain, in fact it seemed to be getting gradually worse. On a Saturday in December 2009, I still remember the day, I ended up going to the emergency room over the weekend because the pain was so bad. They gave me Oxycodone which I began taking to ease the pain. The problem with this was that the Oxycodone would make me drowsy and it was very hard to keep going to classes and work. Over the next couple months I saw many different doctors. I went to my orthopedic doctor and he wanted to send me to a 2nd physical therapist. At this point I was really frustrated and just left, never to return. I then had an MRI of my upper back and neck done. It showed a few slight protrusions but nothing abnormal. I had an X-ray done of entire right arm and hand and the diagnosis was that my bones were in perfect health. I then saw a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with slight hypermobility and bad RSI. Something important that I didn’t realize until now is that the pain had moved to my hand and my fingers, leaving my wrist. I was having numbness, tingling, and lots of pain in my fingers. At this point I was at my 7th month of chronic pain and could no longer take the pain. I was forced to drop out of school, leave work, and move back home to live with my parents. Thankfully my parents were very supportive through my entire struggle and they insisted that I go to a sports chiropractor. He started doing massage, UVray, and other treatments for RSI. I saw him for about 2 months and made some improvements. My hand was rock solid from scar tissue that had originated from the surgery. He helped break that scar tissue up. However, my hand was still in a lot of pain. Okay, here is his first thread: TMS Victim? Please read my struggle and comment You can read the original thread here: http://tmswiki.wikifoundry.com/thread/3754241/TMS+Victim?++Please+read+my+struggle+and+comment brianleejackson, Mar 2 2010, 10:01 AM EST: TMS Victim, on my way to recovery. Mar 2 2010, 10:01 AM EST Hello everyone, would like to introduce myself. My name is Brian Jackson, I am 22 years old and currently suffering terrible RSI pain in my right arm, hand, wrist, and fingers (or at least what I thought was RSI). Have had numbness, tingling, sharp stabbing pain, aching, you name it. I was a senior at Walla Walla University, majoring in Web Design, and had a full job offer lined up in their tech department for when I graduated. Job offer is still good through June. Last month I had to drop out of school, work, and move back home with parents because the pain got to be too much to bear. It all began back in the middle of summer, 2009. I started developing wrist pain. At first I didn't think much about it. And from there just kept getting worse. Read my story here http://tmswiki.wetpaint.com/account/brianleejackson I stumbled across Sarno's information, his book, and this website after googling RSI pain. I have tried every ergonomic mouse and keyboard you can think of. Have tried Voice Recognition (Dragon), works ok. Changed desk positions, posture improved, everything I can think of and pain still remains. So I am now wondering if maybe I have TMS? I am not going to give up on the TMS idea yet, I mentioned it to my parents and they think it sounded kinda weird how all this could be in my head. But then again, all the doctors I have went to can't find anything wrong? I have worked long hours, probably 15-18 hours a day, 7 days a week on the computer for the last 4 years. I am a workaholic, I enjoy it. So how do you distinguish between real RSI and TMS? I have read success stories of TMS with computer programmers and I am sure that they worked that many hours on the computer too. If you worked that long on the computer and were cured by TMS I would love to hear from you. Quert, Mar 2 2010, 11:19 AM EST: Hi Brian, I can totally relate to where you are coming from. My TMS/RSI started when I was in high school, but it didn't really start to get bad until my junior year of college. I had just switched majors, and I was pretty stressed out about where my life was going. I didn't work as long hours as you, but I was I tried EVERYTHING, and nothing helped until I read a couple of success stories online and started taking this approach seriously. I was also a workaholic, and traits like perfectionism and "goodism" are the classic traits that can not only lead to being a workaholic, but can also lead to TMS. The key with the TMS approach is that it isn't "all in your head." Real changes occur in your body and the pain is real. My advice for you would be to start learning everything you can about the approach and to start sharing that information with your parents. I don't blame them for being skeptical--I was very skeptical at first, too!--but my bet is that they are on your side. Dr. Sarno writes that "information is the penicillin for this condition" so the more reading you can do, the better. Do you have one of Dr. Sarno's books yet? Reading people's TMS recovery stories was a huge factor in my recovery.... Have you seen the page of RSI TMS success stories? http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Repetitive_Strain_Injuries_-_RSI TMSAndrew, Mar 2 2010, 11:36 AM EST: Definitely check out the wiki page on RSI! There are so so many success stories on there. I think RSI seems to be one of the main TMS symptoms..... You can also read my own story here http://www.rsi-backpain.co.uk/page2.html I suffered from RSI for 3 years - the last 1 1/2 years to a very debilitating level. Reading Sarno's books and implementing his techniques has led to a 95% recovery. Feel free to ask me any questions! HilaryN123, Mar 4 2010, 11:06 AM EST: Welcome to the wiki, Brian and Quert! Brian, I certainly didn't work that many hours, but maybe you'll find this thread useful, in particular Teddybear's post: http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=6101 brianleejackson, Mar 7 2010, 3:33 PM EST, "Good and bad of RSI Chronic Pain": Thank you all for the replies. They helped. Since last Tuesday, I have read Sarno's book twice (and chapter 3 like 4 times). I have a big printout of TMS daily reminders on my wall. Success stories have helped. My pain seems to have slightly improved, not much, but a little bit. I am at least a little encouraged. And I am becoming more confident that it is indeed TMS that is my issue. This is my eighth month of chronic pain, and sometimes I still think I can't go on. The pain is so bad. I can't talk to any of my friends about this because they simply don't understand, they are still off at college enjoying life. I'm sitting at home praying every day just to have no pain. Two good things have come from this experience though. Throughout all the research and physical therapy, I will from now forever exercise and drink lots of water, both I didn't do at all before this occurred. I realize now how important they are. We as humans definitely take life for granted. I realize I did when I wasn't in pain. The second thing is my relationship with Christ. Without my faith, there is no way I could have suffered this long. I am sure the suicidal rate with chronic pain is very high. But I have to reaffirm myself that God has a plan for me, and when I do get my 2nd chance, and I know I will, that I will find a way through my work to help people. My life will be different. I will keep posting back with updates as the days go by. pandamonium09, Mar 7 2010, 11:04 PM EST: Hi Brian, if your symptoms are improving slightly then that is a very good sign. Sometimes it takes a while for us to unlearn bad habits and turn things around but you can build on these small successes. Many of us on here have been as low as can be. I had back pain and used to wish I had never been born, the pain was so bad but I have 2 small children so I had to carry on. Thanks to Sarno I am 99.9% pain free now, where as I was often wheelchair bound before. I once read about a girl who took her own life due to her chronic pain. Afterwards her father found out about TMS and wondered if things could have been different. It was such a sad story it's one of the reasons I stick around to help other people and spread the TMS information where and when I can. Your friends won't understand, so don't try to tell them just yet. Once you are better you can tell people what happened if you think they are open-minded. Good luck, guej, Mar 17 2010, 4:05 AM EDT: Hi Brian, I just read your story. I'm sorry you're in so much pain. I really do understand. It's month 18 of chronic pain for me, and I am starting to forget what it felt like to not have this constant pain. It is deafening. I will say, though, that since finding Dr. Sarno and embarking on the TMS path, I am certainly better. Not painfree, definitely still struggling, but still hopeful and more importantly, living my life again. I was told by all MDs that I had "chronic pain", it would likely not go away, and that I had to learn to live with it. I was depressed beyond belief. Dr. Sarno's books made so much sense to me. It took some time, but I got up the courage to start exercising again, and doing things, even if I was in pain. That, in and of itself, gave me back about 50% of what I lost due to pain. I realized that it was all the things I was giving up and not doing that were weighing on me the most (more than the physical pain itself). I like Sarno's books, but I found a few of the other TMS books even more helpful in helping me re-engage in life. Since you indicated a strong spiritual sense, you might enjoy "Pain Free for Life" by Scott Brady. I also liked "Back Sense" by Ron Siegel and "Rapid Recovery from Back and Neck Pain" by Fred Amir to help me start setting small goals to re-engage in activities I had stopped. All these books were very helpful in explaining how chronic pain developes in certain people, and how our thought processes sometimes keep us in pain. I wish you all the best. It is certainly a process. I'm not getting the instantaneous cure, but whenever I catch myself with all this negative thinking about "what if I never get out of pain", it reminds me of how my thoughts are still contributing to an already overactive nervous system. Keep popping on this forum. There are tons of very helpful and supportive people. Peghanson, Mar 17 2010, 2:32 PM EDT: I think guej makes an excellent point about fear. I think that FEAR is a huge factor in perpetuating TMS. Dr. Schubiner wrote a wonderful blog post addressing this on his site. Here's a link to the blog post: http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/understanding-and-overcoming-fear.182/ Hope you continue to improve Brian and guej LeylaLuz, Mar 23 2010, 4:29 AM EDT: Quote: "Thank you all for the replies. They helped. Since last Tuesday, I have read Sarno's book twice (and chapter 3 like 4 times). I have a big printout of TMS daily reminders on my wall. Success stories have helped. My pain seems to have slightly improved, not much, but a little bit. I am at least a little encouraged. " Hi Brian, My troubles have been also with pain in my hands and arms... It is indeed a good sign that your pain has slightly improved. Re-read Sarno as often as you feel like it... hearing his message often and often helps. Another book that has helped me a lot and is discussed to a great extent in this forum is The Presence Process. Check it out, it might resonate with you. Water is great... keep yourself hydrated! Cheers, Leyla brianleejackson, Apr 28 2010, 3:19 PM EDT: Thank you all for the replies. So my pain is slightly better now, but still very hard to stay motivated. I have been swimming, lifting weights, and doing a numerous amounts of exercises every morning. My real question now is, is there really such a thing as true RSI?? It would seem that if I am slowly getting better from all my exercise that maybe something was wrong with my body. How to distinguish between TMS or real RSI has been a real struggle for me. The thing is, doctor's can't diagnose RSI so there is now way to know. Quert, Apr 29 2010, 8:47 AM EDT: Hi Brian, congratulations on your progress. My personal opinion is that RSI may exist as a short term phenomenon, but that once it stretches out for a long time, I think it's TMS. As Dr. Sopher has written, (I paraphrase) "you're not fragile!" That being said, when my doctor tells me to do something, that is what I do (now, if the doctor recommends surgery, I'll probably get a second opinion...). What are your doctors telling you about the activities that you can safely do? Did you ever get to see a TMS doctor? It sounds like you are still "thinking physically." You're looking to heal yourself through exercise--which treats the body--rather than through the mind. Everything I've read about TMS, both by doctors and by other people who have it, says that it's crucial to look inside instead and think psychologically. You must, after all, be under a huge amount of stress. brianleejackson, Apr 29 2010, 8:48 AM EDT Ok, so funny thing happened recently. My message therapist said to switch my mouse to left hand, three days later i started developing the same pain as my right hand. That right there just seems like 100% TMS. There is no way that I could have developed real RSI, if there even is such a thing, in only three days. A 2nd thing, this last monday my pain was almost gone altogether, and it was weird because I had a huge headache that day as well. I haven't had a headache for months, and it just so happens that on the one day I finally feel better that I have a huge headache. Another eye opener. Since then, my pain has returned but I am devoting myself to this theory. I have started journaling and realized that there is nothing wrong with my body. I am 23, my body is a beast, and I've already rested for 3 months. That seems like TMS to me. brianleejackson, Apr 29 2010, 9:16 AM EDT I just journeled an entire page in word, single spaced and only minor aching. I am seriously about to cry. Well, I am going to cancel my future messages, and stop doing exercises. I will keep lifting weights though because I get great satisfaction from that new hobby as I see my upper body change. Wish me luck!! The next task will be conquering the mouse for a while, as the mouse is where a lot of my pain resides. The hard part for me will be pacing myself. I am a perfectionist, and over achiever and so if I know that i can heal myself, I will have a hard time not going full force all day long. But like Sarno says in TMP, it is real pain caused by lack of oxygen, and I can't harm my body. I will work on gradually increasing computer use every day. guej, Apr 29 2010, 9:26 AM EDT That's great Brian. To your question a few posts back about whether the fact that you felt better exercising meant the problem was physical...here are some thoughts based on my experience. I had chronic back and neck pain for about 10 months when I went to see Dr. Sarno. After reading his books and seeing him, I got up the nerve to start exercising again, after being completely sedetary for the entire 10 months. Part of my pain "suffering" was all the physical activities I had given up, and I just didn't feel like myself anymore. It was depressing. Once I got up the nerve to resume activity, I started slow and little by little, I re-engaged in all of my former activities, including running, which I was told I should never do again. I literally cried with joy after working my way back up to a 30 minute run. I felt like "me" again. In hindsight, I noticed that the pain was getting a little bit less. Was the pain caused by inactivity? I don't think so. I think once I realized I wasn't going to hurt myself further by going back to exercising, my "suffering" started to diminish, and I achieved about a 50% recovery in pain levels, but about a 75-80% return to pre-pain levels of activity. I truly believe that it was the mentals gains that helped reduce the actual pain. I stopped seeing myself as injured, my mind was overjoyed, and my body responded. I think there is something to be said abour our bodies being affected by our emotions. In this case, positive emotions about being able to exercise helped calm down a very cranky nervous system. There is much more to this in terms of the mental analysis of your life, etc, but for me, regaining mobility and confidence to re-engage in sports was 1/2 the battle (I'm still working on the other half.....!). HilaryN123, May 1 2010, 6:54 AM EDT "Ok, so funny thing happened recently. My message therapist said to switch my mouse to left hand, three days later i started developing the same pain as my right hand." I've been there! HilaryN123, May 1 2010, 6:56 AM EDT "I just journeled an entire page in word, single spaced and only minor aching. I am seriously about to cry. " I hope you did cry! It's a great way of relieving stress and letting out the trapped emotions. TMSAndrew, May 2 2010, 8:27 AM EDT "I just journeled an entire page in word, single spaced and only minor aching. I am seriously about to cry. Well, I am going to cancel my future messages, and stop doing exercises. I will keep lifting weights though because I get great satisfaction from that new hobby as I see my upper body change. Wish me luck!! The next task will be conquering the mouse for a while, as the mouse is where a lot of my pain resides. The hard part for me will be pacing myself. I am a perfectionist, and over achiever and so if I know that i can heal myself, I will have a hard time not going full force all day long. But like Sarno says in TMP, it is real pain caused by lack of oxygen, and I can't harm my body. I will work on gradually increasing computer use every day." It's amazing reading your posts because your experience is so similar to mine - including your personality traits! I wrote a list of things i was going to achieve - and using the mouse again with no pain was the last one to conquer for me. It was where it all began - and it did take a few weeks to get back to full use - but i did! And now i spend hours on the computer like i did before. To paraphrase a famous chap: "throw down your Voice Recognition and type!" Andrew brianleejackson, May 5 2010, 6:27 PM EDT Just a quick update on my progress. I read the "Pain Free Life" by Scott Brady and loved it. Much better than Sarno's book in my opinion. He was healed by Sarno and believes 100% in TMS but also adds a third aspect of spirituality with it. I have been journaling today and realized when my family and I went out to eat earlier this evening I didn't even think about RSI even once!! For the first time in 10 months I went out to a restaurant and enjoyed a meal with my family without the dreadful thought of lingering pain. Also, TMSAndrew, I have been using the mouse for the last 45 minutes or so and only slight twinges of pain, nothing like it used to be. So excited. I threw my oxy and prednisone in the garbage today, because they were a crutch, I went back to my original mouse, no ergonomic crap, not taking baths at night anymore because of pain. I can slowly feel my life coming back to me. Since I don't go back to work and school till June, lets just say I'm going to journal like never before!!! Thank you everyone so far for your support. This forum I would say has been a huge help in the healing process. You can't really talk with friends or even some family about this because if you haven't had chronic pain, you can't even imagine what it is like. Only people who have experienced it really understand. Once I am fully healed I will be glad to write my success story!! pandamonium09, May 6 2010, 1:21 AM EDT Wow Brian, storys like yours never cease to inspire me, and people like you are why us "recovered" people stick around to give support. I am so pleased you could go for a meal and not think about RSI, and that you could use your mouse. You are right, people don't understand just how bad our lives have been, how we were living just a fraction of the life we wanted to, how frustrating and so damn unfair it all seemed. And not many people "get" TMS either. BUT we are the lucky ones, we know and accept TMS for what is it, our body's way of calling us back, to look after ourselves, and live more in the now. We've been in the depths of despair and are now living life to the full, beyond what we could have imagined when we were in pain. For people who might not be receptive to TMS I tell them this: My back pain responded to nothing I tried, conventional medicine and alternative medicene didn't help, but once I started treating it as stress, it left completely. How's that for a mindbody connection? I wish you continued success and thank you for updating us. docsklar, May 6 2010, 7:35 AM EDT brian and all, i have read your entire thread. glad you seem to have recovered from your condition. as far as repetative strain injuries for the most part they are actually tms. while a baseball pitcher can have a repetative strain injury from repetative forceful motion most of us are not subjected to similar repetative trauma which can cause an injury. and in the case of a baseball pitcher the injury will actually show up on testing - unlike in most cases(like yours) where the tests are negative. so the vast majority of rsi cases are more mythological then real - part of the huge medical mythology which has sprung up around chronic pain syndromes(back pain caused by discs - sound familiar?). other than in the case of a baseball pitcher or someone who runs a jackhammer for a living, repetative trauma has been scientifically disproven as the cause of anything(other than a lot of wasted money on needless medical care and iatrogenic disability). recent studies clearly demonstrate that repetative motion at work or at home has nothing to do with back or neck pain. similarly the idea that computer use can cause any sort of pain problem has been disproven. the only reason these notions even survive at all is that our bloated medical sytem might possibly collapse if they were all withdrawn at once. painful in the short term and exactly what the doctor(this doctor, at least) ordered in the long run! and the patients are not blameless in the creation and maintainence of this morass as long as they continue to tolerate ineffective medical which serves only to allow them to continue to be unconscious as to the real source of their problem - unconscious conflict. our current medical system it turns out is then just what we all have been ordering over the years. glad in this small corner of the world(this wiki) then there are some folks who are choosing to get real and not tolerate the status quo any longer. keep up the good work!!! docsklar(with the papers to prove it) Quert, May 6 2010, 12:05 PM EDT Brian wrote: "Ok, so funny thing happened recently. My message therapist said to switch my mouse to left hand, three days later i started developing the same pain as my right hand." Hilary wrote: "I've been there!" Me, too! I've totally had that happen, both with mousing and with writing. It's so good to read your recent posts, Brian. I know how good it can feel to finally feel some control, to feel like you finally know what is going on and you can finally get your life back. I'm so glad that you are taking the time to journal, too. Sometimes, TMS is our brain's way of telling us something, and there may be a lot to be learned from this. Though it may be hard to see now, perhaps you will look back on this someday and see it as a gift from God. Going gradually seems like a good idea. Sorry I haven't been checking in as frequently recently, but it's great to hear you are doing well. Good luck going forward (though I don't think you need it!), and please keep us updated. MatthewNJ, May 6 2010, 3:01 PM EDT Brian, I am glad you found us. People here DO understand. Many of us have "been there done that". But remember what Panda said above, be careful how you share and with who. I tell folks about my TMS, I just expect most of them (85 % -90%) to NOT get it. So when I need a sympathetic ear, I talk to those that DO understand. Check out my profile http://tmswiki.wetpaint.com/account/matthewnj it has my success story. Although not RSI, that is about the only thing I haven't had! brianleejackson, May 10 2010, 2:09 PM EDT Well, things have been going great until this morning. I was getting all pumped to go back to work in June, but today's struggle has really got me feeling down again. I suddenly out of the blew woke up this morning with swollen lymph nodes in my groin area (pretty sure they aren't TMS) and so I went to doctor for antibiotics and shot. I had a cut on my knee from being outside the other day and the doctor said an infection probably spread. So now I am in a lot of pain once again, however my original source of pain, my right arm, hand, and wrist is doing better than ever. Almost no pain (ouchh!!!! i sneezed) whatsoever in my hand. So good and bad. Just gotta keep my mind focused on TMS, think positive, and no that this little hiccup has nothing to do with my hand and is just a little speed bump in the way of curing the TMS of my hand. MatthewNJ, May 10 2010, 3:11 PM EDT Brian, That sounds like a classic "Symptom Imperative" described by Dr. Sarno in MBP. In other words, your infection created a distraction, so you no longer needed your RSI pain. FYI, don't rush it. It takes time for us to create TMS, it takes time to be rid of it. I didn't get a TMS diagnosis till I was 44. I just turned 50, and I am doing really, really well. The fact that you are so much younger when you figured this out, definitely gives you an edge on solving it more quickly! Quert, May 10 2010, 4:08 PM EDT Wow, it really is amazing how just when someone starts getting better--poof!--another symptom appears out of nowhere! Now I totally think that you should do what your doctor tells you to do, but it definitely does sound a bit like the symptom imperative. It's pretty amazing how it works... Peghanson, May 11 2010, 1:52 AM EDT Hi Brian, I think you were smart to visit your doc on this one. While the symptom imperative is certainly valid and quite tricky, not everything is TMS. The lymph system's job is to fight infection in our bodies, so there is a reason yours were swollen. I do believe that our emotions can affect our immune system (of which the lymph system is an integral part), and there are studies that show this. However the fact that you sustained an injury on your leg, from outside (where bacteria is abundant), and the lymph glands that serve that area of your body are inflamed, causes me to agree with your doctor on this one and treatment is warranted. I think the crucial element for us TMSrs, with the development of ANY symptom, be it TMS or purely physical, is our reaction to it. That said, having had chronic pain such as yours, would understandably cause you to worry or be discouraged about a new symptom. If we react strongly with fear, worry and anxiety, do the "what if" dance (what if it is something serious, what if I never get better, what if this is TMS, what if this delays my recovery, etc????), then we can cause the spiral of worry and more symptoms to begin. I think your outlook in your post is a healthy one, keep your mind focused on your TMS (your RSI), keep doing the emotional work. Your hands are getting better, that's progress. I agree with you, this sounds unrelated and just an unfortunate development, but your body is young and strong, with excellent infection fighting capacities. You are being treated and should recover from this unrelated infection in no time. Do follow up with your doctor if it isn't resolving. If however, this infection resolves and you start to develop other symptoms that are less clear cut, or more classic of stress related issues (GERD, back pain, IBS, headaches, etc), then you know that you have more work to do (emotionally), or you need to bolster your confidence in the mindbody diagnosis, which can be easily done by reading other books or the medical studies, listed here on the wiki. One question you might want to write about is whether you feel some stress or anticipatory anxiety about returning to work in June. Just a thought. Best of Luck, Peg Quert, May 11 2010, 7:10 AM EDT Great points, Peg, thanks for another great post. Sometimes I wonder if there might be something that I can "opportunistic TMS." It's a term that I came up with for when there is a genuine structural problem going on in your body and parts of your unconscious mind latch on to that and amplify it, so that one's actual experience of it is far worse than is warranted by the structural problem and the pain and other symptoms persist long after the structural problem is resolved. Because the symptoms started with a structural problem, your mind takes them seriously and thinks of them as a big deal. Perhaps that could be how the symptom imperative could be involved with this. All these thought aside, though, I always believe that when a doctor tells you to do something, you do it! Congrats on your progress... I look forward to hearing more! Peghanson, May 11 2010, 10:14 AM EDT Thanks for your kind words Quert. "Opportunistic TMS". I like that term you came up with. I seem to remember Dr. Sarno talking about the mind using the site of an abnormality or injury to begin a symptom. I agree with you, that the way we latch onto a symptom and amplify it or catastrophize about it, causes it to worsen. If we accept the symptom and tell ourselves that it is temporary, it tends to resolve. >"I always believe that when a doctor tells you to do something, you do it!" I can't say I agree with this. I think it's crucial that we act as our own health advocates and even our own health detectives at times. Most doctors mean well, but as we have learned, they don't know everything. I would encourage patients to become independent thinkers, do some of their own research, and then, working with their doctors, make informed health care decisions. Many doctors are telling their patients that invasive procedures or interventions are necessary, when studies show that they are not. Many doctors are prescribing medications for their patients, when those meds have been shown to be ineffective and even harmful. These are some of the reasons why I wouldn't just "do what my doctor told me to do". Best, Peg MatthewNJ, May 11 2010, 4:47 PM EDT Opportunistic TMS. I LOVE it. I have two "old" injuries (not TMS, I twisted a joint in a finger and dropped a car battery on my foot.. Both a long tiome ago.) They "act up" now and then. I think I would term these Opportunistic TMS. Also, I know that when I have back pain , my fear of the back pain causes activation in my nervous system and that can intensify the pain. Again Opportunistic TMS. Me and Ursula( guej) were just talking about this the other day. I am so glad someone gave it a name! Matthew guej, May 11 2010, 5:05 PM EDT Same here with a mild achilles injury from October. Completely healed but every now and then, when my "normal" TMS pain is in full, full swing, my achilles wakes up and joins the dance. Ah...I miss the days of single symptoms, making brief appearances because I never gave them any significance... brianleejackson, May 19 2010, 12:44 PM EDT I want to thank everyone for commenting, I really appreciate your thoughts and input. This morning I finally got my confidence up to cancel all physical treatments. No more chiro. - As of May 19th, I am doing all previous activities that I was before the pain started. Computer work is still difficult with pain, but getting there. Resumed all outdoor activities, mowing lawns, edging, running, walking dog, etc. I have stopped all pain medication and like Scott Brady did, I took all my pills and threw them into the garbage. Got rid of my special pillow for my neck. Started a vigorous workout routine, not to strengthen arm, but because I love working out and I realize there is nothing wrong with my hand. And the stronger I get, the more I convince my mind that my body is a healthy beast. I still have many moments at the computer with pain, especially on the mouse, that is still the part I am trying to reprogram. But I am confident that I am back on my way to my real life. I start work again in two weeks and am moving out of my parents house back to Walla Walla. I continue to journal, and that is something I will probably never stop, even 10 minutes before going to sleep, just to write out what I experienced emotionally that day is such a big help. I would say I'm about 75-80% pain free. And really the other 20% is still at the computer. I am so thankful that I found out about TMS and I will definitely be writing an article on my blog (http://blog.brianleejackson.com) about TMS and my recovery. My blog receives a lot of traffic and so maybe I can help point some people to this forum. I can see why you guys that started this forum did so, because I am so happy that all I can think about is spreading the word about TMS. brianleejackson, May 19 2010, 12:50 PM EDT "Positive results from Chronic Pain" I do think God had a part in my TMS journey as well. A year ago, I was heading down a very rough road. I was drinking energy drinks daily, working 40+ hours a week plus taking full class loads and freelancing on the side, I wasn't sleeping and was working 7 days a week. I think this experience showed me that my life was heading for destruction. Positive results from my chronic pain experience: - A new found relationship with Jesus Christ (much lacking before) - A whole different outlook on life and what is truly important. It doesn't matter what we have, what we own, or how much money we earn; because for 10 months, I would have given up everything I owned just to be pain free. - I now realize how important exercise and diet really is and how great our bodies can feel if we commit to them. - Learned to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life. - Learned how to stretch a dollar twice as far (I'm sure everyone can relate with this one, medical bills keep coming and somehow you manage with same income or less) ForestForTreesTMS, May 19 2010, 1:16 PM EDT Hey, congratulations! I haven't had a chance to post yet in this thread, but I've been watching it carefully. My TMS was also diagnosed as "RSI" and it was with me for 20 years, so I always take a special interest in the other RSI people out there. I'm so glad that you didn't have to go what I went through, and am glad you like the site (nice blog by the way!) Recovery is always a process, but it is so incredibly affirming to get your life back again and I love the way that you've found the positive in it. I attached this thread to the TMS and Religion page, so that others reading that page can read an inspiring success story from someone whose experience deepened their faith. Wishing you the best! Quert, May 19 2010, 1:26 PM EDT [BIG, BIG GRIN...] I'm so happy for you! Doesn't it feel so good to be free again?! "Started a vigorous workout routine, not to strengthen arm, but because I love working out and I realize there is nothing wrong with my hand. " I love that line! Makes me want to start working out, too! Peghanson, May 19 2010, 2:18 PM EDT Fantastic Brian!!!! Thanks so much for posting your update. I have no doubt, you will continue to do well. You have absorbed and accepted the fundamentals of TMS theory and are applying them to your life. I think you will find they will serve you well for the rest of your life. >"A whole different outlook on life and what is truly important. It doesn't matter what we have, what we own, or how much money we earn; because for 10 months, I would have given up everything I owned just to be pain free." Wise words. Thank you for the reminder Getting back to activity and exercise were key for me as well. I'm still pretty excited about this information, since it is the reason that I have been able to start running at the age of 52. I began slowly in February and am up to 4.5 miles. I'm doing a 5k at the end of May and then a 10k in October. Thanks again Dr. Sarno! Best of luck Brian. Keep up the good work. I look forward to checking out your blog. pandamonium09, May 19 2010, 11:45 PM EDT BUT we are the lucky ones, we know and accept TMS for what is it, our body's way of calling us back, to look after ourselves, and live more in the now. Hi Brian, I am so pleased to read your posts from yesterday. I'm quoting myself because it really sums up some of what you have discovered. I am glad your spirituality has deepened as a consequence. Best wishes, Panda. HilaryN123, May 20 2010, 1:44 PM EDT Well done for staying the course, Brian! I'm so glad to read of your improvement. That's fantastic! MatthewNJ, May 20 2010, 5:03 PM EDT - A new found relationship with Jesus Christ (much lacking before) - A whole different outlook on life and what is truly important. It doesn't matter what we have, what we own, or how much money we earn; because for 10 months, I would have given up everything I owned just to be pain free. - I now realize how important exercise and diet really is and how great our bodies can feel if we commit to them. - Learned to enjoy and appreciate the little things in life. - Learned how to stretch a dollar twice as far (I'm sure everyone can relate with this one, medical bills keep coming and somehow you manage with same income or less) Brian, I have enhance Dr. Sarno's work by working with "healing Trauma" by Peter A. Levine. I quoted you to indicate what Dr. Levine calls "resources" . These were resources that you had either lossed or never had. You regained/obtained them and now your life is moving in a better direction Bravo! keep it up. And, a note from my earlier post about the symptom imperative. I don't want anyone to confuse my comments. I was not saying the infection was or was not TMS. Seeing the doctor was the right thing to do and it looks like it required treatment from your doctor! I absolutley believe in rulling out the physical first. The concept of the symptom imperative is only that one symprom is imperative. If you have a legitimate physical abnormality (infection causing pain. anxiety, etc), you now have a symptom to distract you. the distaction does not have to be TMS. Last 2 cents - As you continue to feel better, DON'T stop doing the things you are doing for YOU that got you better! Keep them for the rest of your life and have less opportunities for TMS. brianleejackson, Oct 14 2010, 6:57 PM EDT "Updates - 5 Months Later" Just wanted to give everyone and update... It has now been 5 months since I discovered the concept of TMS and started applying it. I thank everyone on here for replying when I was struggling. Currently, I am back at my IT job on the computer from 8 to 5, 5 days a week. Still have some pain every day.. but it is slowly diminishing. It is nowhere near what it was 5 months ago. Things I have kept doing: - Started working out, and am still working out. Great way to stay in shape, builds self confidence, and gets your blood flowing. Every time I work out and the blood starts rushing into my hand if I was in pain it immediately goes away... that is just a nice daily reminder and push for my mind that the pain is not my body, but simply TMS and caused from anxiety, emotions, etc. - I actually have stopped journaling and reading.. I have confidence in the theory and no doubts whatsoever. If I have pain, I just shrug it off and keep going. - I started going back to church in June and have gone every week since. I grew up growing to church but when I went to college stopped going. I am getting involved with my new church family and even teaching a computer class to elderly people on Wednesday nights. - Just bought a new car and moving into a new apartment in November. It might sound kind of weird, but I now thank God for showing me TMS and look at my year long struggle as a blessing. I'm happier now than I was a year ago, a lot healthier, my work schedule is a lot more laid back, and I have a new church family. None of these things would have happened if I didn't experience the pain. Sorry Matthew for not getting back to you about the TMS event... some family things came up this last weekend and I had to travel home. But I will definitely join in as a spectator this weekend, wouldn't miss it!! Thanks everyone... I will post another update at the year mark! God Bless. Enrique.Pasos, Oct 17 2010, 6:57 PM EDT It's good to read about your recovery, Brian. Nice chatting with you today at the live panel. All the best from a fellow RSI sufferer. pandamonium09, Oct 19 2010, 3:02 AM EDT Hey Brian, Out of interest, what do your parents think now? I'm so pleased to read your update, it does sound wierd but I do count TMSers as the lucky ones, yes we had pain, but we had the courage to open our minds and trust in the diagnosis, we got better as a result and the benefits will be long lasting. MatthewNJ, Oct 19 2010, 11:36 AM EDT - I actually have stopped journaling and reading.. I have confidence in the theory and no doubts whatsoever. If I have pain, I just shrug it off and keep going. Brian, I am really glad you are doing so well. I noted a lot of things you are now doing for YOU. That is wonderful. Those are excellent "resources" as Dr. Peter A. Levine says. Dr. Clarke also recommends at least 5-6 hours a week of taking care of yourself in his book "They can't find anything wrong". VERY powerful medicine for those of us "goodists". Let me caution you on one thing. the quote above. Don't stop journaling or reading permanently. But instead place them in your toolbox for use later when/if you need it. And what ever you do, in my opinion, do not "just shrug if off and keep going" UNLESS you first take a few minutes to gain some insight as to what that message was all about. I am not saying obsess about finding the cause, but give it a shot. sometimes it will come to you. sometimes it won't. But I believe strongly that the shrugging off and ignoring leads us right back to a relapse. and trust me, I have had a few bad ones. The symptom is a message, listen to the message , it is telling you something. I listen all the time now and I am NEVER going to have pain like I have had in the past. Never! Enrique.Pasos, Oct 19 2010, 3:23 PM EDT I totally agree with Matthew. I've had relapses which caused me to realize the truth of his advice. I also agree with not shrugging off the pain but instead look at it as a signal. I actually thank my subconscious mind for the signal and tell it I don't need the signal any more. Works for me. ForestForTreesTMS, Jun 6 2011, 1:20 PM EDT I wanted to let everyone know that brian recently posted his success story on the wiki at http://tmswiki.org/page/Rapid+Recovery+from+RSI,+by+Brian+Jackson . I strongly recommend that anyone who reads this thread also read the success story.